Big Rig Crash Leads to Pileup, Closes Freeway

TIMES STAFF WRITER

An early morning big rig crash on California 126 in Ventura on Friday left the vehicle's driver injured and led to a five-car pileup among drivers who had slowed to watch emergency crews.

The westbound lanes were closed briefly after the 6 a.m. crash.

The truck driver, Travis Barton, 27, of Bakersfield, was taken to Ventura County Medical Center, where he was listed in good condition Friday, according to hospital officials.

The crash occurred on the westbound lanes just east of the Kimball Road bridge, according to California Highway Patrol Officer R.J. Regan.

The crash came on the second day of a CHP effort to curb reckless truckers on Ventura County roads, but there were no allegations of recklessness on Barton's part.

Regan said some witnesses reported seeing a car cut off Barton's truck just before he lost control, while others said there was no other vehicle involved. The truck skidded along the shoulder, knocking down at least six trees.

Ventura Assistant Fire Chief Bill Rigg said firefighters found the truck overturned in a ditch along the freeway.

The driver was trapped in the cab until emergency crews freed him by cutting through the roof and door, Rigg said.

Several motorists who slowed to watch the rescue effort were hit by cars from behind, Rigg said.

"You take your eyes off the road for a second and that is what happens," Rigg said.

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